Sauber announce Van der Garde as reserve driver

2014 F1 season

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Giedo van der Garde has been announced as Sauber’s test and reserve driver for the forthcoming season.

Van der Garde, who made his F1 race debut for Caterham last year, is stepping back into a non-racing role.

“I am a racing driver, and I want to show the team and everybody else what I am capable of and that I deserve a race seat with the Sauber F1 Team in 2015,” said the 27-year-old.

“After all, my ambition remains unchanged and I am highly motivated to succeed in Formula One, especially in the long term.”

“I am very thankful to Caterham that they gave me a chance to get a taste of Formula One,” he added.

“For now, I am really very excited to have signed a contract with the Sauber F1 Team. For every driver it is a dream to work for a well established team such as Sauber. In recent years it has shown impressive results. I am really grateful for this opportunity and I will certainly do my upmost [sic] to succeed.”

Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn said Van der Garde “has the right attitude to take the next step forward”.

“He has four years experience in GP2 and he drove one year in Formula One. These are good credentials to work successfully with our team. Many times Giedo has shown his talent as a race driver. At the same time the team would like to support him to further develop his skills.”

Van der Garde joins Sergey Sirotkin as one of the team’s two test drivers.

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Image © Caterham/LAT

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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40 comments on “Sauber announce Van der Garde as reserve driver”

  1. Not actually a bad move for him. He was relatively solid for Caterham, and I’d rather Sauber put him in the car should one of their regulars not race than Sirotkin.

    1. @craig-o As Van der Garde is the ‘reserve and test’ driver and Sirotkin is merely the ‘test’ driver that seems to be the plan. Though were a vacancy to appear in time for Sochi…

  2. For a Dutchman this is really bad news.
    Last year Robin Frijns was 3rd and reserve driver at Sauber and look what it has brought him.
    I hope that Giedo will do the same thing as he did with Caterham; a year of testing with some
    apperances in FP1, and build a good relationship with the mechanics and engineers.
    Then he will maybe get the race seat in 2015.. Maybe..

    1. Yeah, I thought he did enough in 2013 to deserve better than this non-role at Sauber. I would have liked to see him develop his race craft further and it will be a shame for him to just disappear into obscurity via “test driver” hell now. Sigh. F1 is so cruel.

    2. @jlracing But unlike Frijns, van der Garde comes with financial backing. So at least he has the chance, though I don’t think he will get a seat.

      1. Yea that is a big pro that he has got good financial backing. On the other side, he has to compete with Telmex and Russian money so that will be a tough battle..

    3. Maybe another dream comes true: Kobayashi-Frijns at Caterham?

      1. Well that would be amazing, but I think it will be Kobayashi-Ericsson and Frijns as 3rd and reserve driver

        1. Dutch news is reporting that Frijns has been signed by Caterham as a 3d driver

      2. Ericsson is at Caterham

  3. One would think that people would learn from what happened to Frijns last year. Apparently not.

    1. @andae23 The fact that this happened to money-less Frijns does not mean the same will happen to money-bag VdG

      1. @montreal95 Very true of course, but still my hopes aren’t high.

  4. Bad news, he’ll be 28 after this year and we’ve seen with Frijns how much running he’ll do at Sauber. Shame… he impressed me in the second half of last year.

      1. You’re right.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      21st January 2014, 10:25

      I wouldn’t say it’s particularly bad news for him – the bad news is that he didn’t get a race seat. Atleast he’s remaining in the F1 community ready to jump in if needed. The alternative is to leave F1 and with that, his F1 career would almost definately be over.

      This way, he will get to drive a 2014 car (even if it’s just sim work) and would therefore have a better understanding of all the new processess and systems than someone like Kovalainen who doesn’t appear to be involved at all this year.

      1. Sauber don’t have a sim, I think the only team without any access to one (Marussia use McLaren’s) one reason why I feel sorry for Esteban G…

  5. This is good news – he can help develop the car and give his experience to the team in that way. Perhaps some drivers take longer to mature in F1 than others…maybe this is what he needs. I think Sirotkin will have the majority of FP1 running, but I am sure VDG will also be given some to keep his eye in – perhaps with a view to racing again next year.

    All of this comes ahead of the announcement we’re all holding our breath for…whisper it, but can the fabled Kobayashi be returning?

    I am very excited for this season. More so than I have been for a long time (and I get excited about every new season in F1!)

  6. Ah well…Eddie Jordon had to get it wrong at some point isn’t it? Still, the man’s a legend when it comes to driver market predictions. Last year it was Hamilton to Mercedes and Perez to McLaren and this year he was right for many of them Ricciardo to Red Bull, Hulkenburg to Force India, Sutil to Sauber and most astonishingly (though it proved to be correct) Raikkonen to Ferrari. However he went wrong for Caterham as he predicted it to be Van Der Garde and Eriksson.

    1. Did he say it so emphatically that he promised to eat his hat, though?

      1. Never said so…

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      21st January 2014, 10:29

      Eddie is almost always “in the know” when it comes to these things. I definately trust what he says when it comes to this sort of stuff and to be honest, he may have even been right about VDG at the time only for Caterham to have changed their minds.

      His record of making seemingly random predictions of where drivers will end up only for him to be proved right is incredible!

  7. So that pretty much confirms the Kobayashi-Ericsson lineup for Caterham, that’s going to be interesting. I just hope the team will make a car that can match some of the midfield teams in at least the first few races before the richer teams start to pull away in the development race.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      21st January 2014, 10:34

      It’s such a huge year for both Caterham and Marussia. They’ve got a clean slate to design a car to new specifications. There’s the chance that some of the teams will have gone the wrong way with their designs and it might take them the season to get back up to speed. There will be more retirements this year due to ERS, the new engines, the new gearboxes etc.

      Without doubt, this is Caterham and Marussia’s best chance, by a long way, of scoring points since they entered F1 and with Kobayashi and Bianchi driving for them, you wouldn’t bet against it. Good luck to em!

  8. Wasn’t expecting that, but it makes sense for both parties. Sauber need a bit of cash and van der Garde needs to keep his oar in with a F1 team. quite how much testing he will do remains to be seen, but I’m betting he is hoping for more than Frijns got!

  9. Perhaps he will be promoted to the race seat next year if Hulkenberg moves to Ferrari to replace Alonso who moves to McLaren?

  10. Meanwhile Dutch news sites are reporting that Frijns has eben signed as Caterhams reserve and test driver. I hope this emans Frijns will get a full GP2 season in Caterhams team!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Felt like he deserved a race seat, ah well.

  12. Gutierrez could be on borrowed time if he’s having to give up some free practice sessions for a reserve driver with less talent (probably) than Frijns; unlike last year, where neither he nor Hulkenberg sat out any. Perhaps Sauber are fearing the loss of the Mexican sponsorship as well.

  13. Just read news in Swedish media that Marcus Ericsson has secured a Caterham seat for this season, together with Kamui!

  14. 51 days to go until FP1 kicks off at Albert Park in Australia on Ten and One on your ‘Home of Motorsport’

    1. And that @william will be the only decent coverage Ten and One will show all year. Rusty would get more air time if he was to star in the ads rather than the show.

      1. @funkyf1 – you do realise V8s are on Ten and Foxtel from 2015-2020

      2. Spot on @funkyf1 ONE’s F1 coverage is a joke. Every year I wish there was a better option for us Aussies who want to watch all the sessions, and the race in HD without an ad break every 5 laps. Is there any package we can buy, like the Brits have Sky in the UK? I would happily pay for some decent coverage.

        1. @mattc888 – Ten has Mel McLaughlin hosting this years Australian F1 Grand Prix alongside Greg Rust who is also the host. Essentially no one cares about the practice sessions outside of Australia. Actually it’s around 8 laps and you think Ten is worse as 7 is worse with their V8 coverage. I can stream Sky F1 for free. V8s at Albert Park could be a championship round and RPM may return and also @funkyf1 I believe Greg Rust is a host of One’s coverage of Sochi

          1. @william I don’t understand your point. As @mattc888 and myself have expressed, 10 and One’s coverage (depending on which channel they decide to cover it on) is very average. Your statement regarding practice sessions doesn’t make sense either. I presume by your stance you have some sort of affiliation with the network and are trying to bolster there poor coverage. I believe the point mattc888 are trying to make is besides the fact that the network pays for the coverage, we as consumers get to see very little of it. As someone who has watched the sky coverage, I’m sure you understand where we are coming from. Seeing little snippets of FP1, maybe FP2 and and a flash of FP3 prior to quali just doesn’t cut it. Especially when you have 2 networks to share it between. Not broadcasting features such as the grid walks and in depth analysis’s that are available to them is not considering their audience and a big reason as to why F1 fans are frustrated with the sport. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind Rusty, but I’d prefer to see action for the circuit than him and AJ looking like his is struggling to stay awake.

          2. @funkyf1 @mattc888 – I don’t work at the network (Ten) but I think you are forgetting the days of the Nine Network. RPM may return since V8s are joining Ten from 2015 on a six year deal. They have 2 channels that can broadcast the practice sessions but frankly I will prefer highlights just before qualifying starts in a 1 hour time slot. We will be seeing more of Rusty in 2015. Neil Crompton may host F1 again. I prefer Ten over any other FTA network at broadcasting F1 as they would be worse.

  15. Two Dutchmen are going to get many FP1 runs this season, which I know is only a consolation, but it isn’t all doom and gloom, Dutch F1F readers!

    This is a good move for him as he did a decent job last season with Caterham but I don’t think he’ll get the drive in 2015. I doubt he’ll have the troubles Frijns had with Sauber as they are more financially-secure now (they’ve now got backing from Sutil, Gutierrez and possibly Sirotkin) and van der Garde brings some backing as well which Frijns didn’t.

    This probably means Sirotkin will only have a couple of FP1s at the most (Sochi is a certainty).

  16. Good for the driver, could be better for the team. Sauber is a great team, apart from their 2013 results. Their line-up is uninspiring but should bring them some cash, so I hoped to see a talent as third driver, but van der Garde is a good driver and brings even more money to the team. Still better than Sirotkin as of now.

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